First of all, there is faith. First, you start with a healthy skeptical faith, you try meditation and/or you try chanting and you try to apply the precepts Buddha taught to see if they really do work. After a time, you realize that you are finding more peace and happiness in your world and within your self. This causes you to have more faith. Buddhists split that faith into three parts; faith in Buddha himself who first taught us how to live a life without suffering, second, faith in the teachings themselves. These teachings provide the road map to our own happiness and well being and to overcoming the problems of living in this world where nothing can provide true happiness forever.
Trusting more and more in these teachings allows you to live a peaceful life on this earth no matter how much turmoil surrounds you and to have compassion for those around you who are suffering as much or more than yourself. Lastly, there is faith in your fellow practitioners who are walking the path with you as well as faith in those teachers who are farther along the path than you are. All of them are our teachers and can help us learn valuable lessons about becoming better people.
To be a Buddhist takes mindfulness.
The world passes us by so fast that we barely recognize what is really going on around us or within us. We are so busy projecting ourselves into the future of burying ourselves in the past, that being mindful of the present is almost non-existent. We’re so busy surfing TV channels that we don’t notice the moments of our life that are passing by – We don’t notice the taste of the home-cooked meal in our mouths or the smile on the face of our children or our lover. To truly be one with the world around us – with each and every sentient being, we must first be mindful that they’re even there – put down the remote and be present in the moment with them – notice their happiness and their suffering – and notice your own – only by being mindful can you fully appreciate what you have that’s good and change the things that need to be changed to help you live happier
To be a Buddhist takes effort to apply the lessons that Buddha taught us in everyday life in every situation.
By learning to apply these lessons of compassion, mindfulness, and learning to understand the world as it truly is and not how we wish it would be, our negative habits and negative thoughts can fall away – we can maintain a happy and peaceful life and we can bring that happiness to all those around us. But because we have served our own needs and done only what we wanted for so long, these negative habits are extremely difficult to change to positive habits. So, it takes practice to apply the lessons Buddha handed down to us for living a happier and healthier life.
To be a Buddhist is to learn not to grasp at things that are impermanent; to understand that because things change all the time, grasping on to them can only lead to suffering. We grasp on to those we love, believing they will always bring us happiness or fulfill our needs and desires – needing them to fill the void within us. When they do something we do not like, the love we felt is tainted and can change in a second to hate. We grasp at things and want them to stay the same instead of accepting that what we want is impossible – no one and nothing is ever really the same from one minute to the next – just as we are not the same. But we hold tight to it like it’s never going to change and when it does, we are disappointed.
There is nothing we don’t grasp at. We grasp at football scores – wanting our team to continue to be on top. We grasp onto jobs and careers, expecting them to last as long as we want them to. We grasp onto our children, not wanting them to grow up. We grasp at our homes, not wanting them to decay, we grasp onto our cars not wanting them to fall apart or even get the slightest blemish on the paint job. Not grasping, but just letting things be as they are in the moment brings peace, calm and contentment. When we are at peace, we naturally pass those feelings on to others.
Being a Buddhist takes the wish that every sentient being is happy, that everyone is free from misery, that no one ever is separated from their happiness, that everyone has equanimity, free from hatred and attachment.